Professional Beggars

Hark! Hark! The dogs do bark, the beggars are coming to town, some in rags, some in bags and some in velvet gowns.

The ancient old English “nursery rhyme” above was about Catholic Bishop’s roaming the land selling indulgencies from sin. The basis was this: If you had committed a sin then you could buy a bit of paper absolving you completely for this sin and any celestial consequences. No guilt, remorse or penance was required. You paid your money and were immediately forgiven. Bizarrely you could also buy indulgencies for sins you had not yet committed so in principal if your neighbor was annoying you, you could buy an indulgence and save it away in a drawer until the day you decided to bash his brains in and all would be forgiven.

The bigger the sin the higher the price and basically you could buy a “get out of hell free” card.

Although it seems like I was writing about some of the daft stuff “Jesusy” people get up to, I’m not.  There is a new breed of professional beggar on the scene, raking in a ton of cash in exchange for your peace of mind. These are the professional charity beggars.

Charities have existed and flourished for years (well here anyway) by having second hand charity shops, having volunteer collectors rattling wee tins in the streets and not to forget being left tasty big piles in the wills of folk trying to buy their way into heaven. This has all changed now.

When walking through the streets of the City centre nowadays, you are accosted at almost every corner by teams of oddly chirpy youthful folk presenting big false smiles like a bunch of brain-washed Hari Krishna devotees. They say “Hi how are you today” and the correct reply would be “I was just great until I encountered you”!

These rather revolting people wear a sort of over-vest with the name of some charity emblazoned on it, however don’t be fooled; they do not work for any charity at all, well mostly. They work for professional begging organizations who hire out their services to charities. Their function is to talk you into signing up your bank details in order that they may suck out an agreed sum every week or month, supposedly for said charity.

What most people do not realize is that these people get paid at least £6 per hour to beg and this money comes directly from donations made. The organization that they work for is a business and their business is begging for profit. Overheads are paid, manager’s salaries are paid and directors suck out their bloated cut. Then and only then does the charity receive anything. They don’t even receive what is left after all the overheads and salaries are sucked out as this is a business and a profit is to be made.

There are a couple of charities now who have started their own begging businesses along the same lines, and once again all the salaries are paid etc before the charity gets a penny.

Let’s work at putting an end to this revolting business by giving them nothing. If you must give to charity then hand things into charity shops that they can sell or send a donation directly to the charity. Personally I give nothing at all to any charity who hires the services of these professional begging organizations as apart from being revolting and immoral and greedy, it also reminds me of the velvet gown brigade selling peace of mind.

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Down from the ceiling on a silken thread
All hairy legs and teeth
Wriggling and jiggling, closer it came
With me laid underneath

Afraid to move as stiff as a post
With terror seizing my soul
My mind in crazy turmoil
At what may be its goal

Shall it crawl inside my nose
And peek out from my eyes
Or don a spider’s big chef hat
And bake up eyeball pies

Creep its way up to my brain
And dance a merry jig
Freak out all my senses
With its legs so hairy and big

Make me slap and punch myself
And off the bed to roll
As it prods and twangs my poor old brain
Like a big remote control

Oh spider, spider, climb up your thread
And come for me no more
Cease to taunt and torture me
I heartily implore

And so then, he offered a deal
To which I had to agree
I would grant his every wish
To prevent him torturing me

I built a little home for him
Beneath the kitchen sink
And fed him flies to make him fat
With freshest dew to drink

I pampered him the whole day long
As in his silk he lies
And when he felt so sleepy
I sang him lullabies

I lived my life upon my knees
My mind all wracked and sore
Appeasing fear and terror
Was the burden that I bore

And so they came one sunny day
Wielding a great big net
And dragged me off to another place
And still I live there yet

I sit all day, rock back and forth
As eyes dart to and fro
And shriek and scream at bits of fluff
Which along the floor do blow

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E-books Indeed!

I remember with fondness those bleak winter nights, where I would sit breathing in the wisdom of countless authors as I basked in the warmth produced by the flames. This of course was before it was decided that only the affluent can have open fires and the poor have unaffordable central heating forced upon them. My winters are now freezing.

I love to read. Physical books apart from being tangible things that you can carry with you and read anywhere can also be very useful for things other than reading. Here is why I prefer physical books:

  • Can you take a kibble thing or a tablet into the bath? Of course you can but what if you drop it? If I drop my book I hang it up to dry you will be crying at the costs of replacement.
  • Explain to me how I drag e-books out of hiding and put a match to them when I am cold!
  • Will I be robbed in the street for my pile of books? I think not.
  •  How do I bounce an e-book off the head of a cat when it’s peeing or spraying on the veggies in my garden?
  • When times are hard, can I roll tobacco in the fine pages of an e-bible?
  • Can I flap an e-book about to kids saying “look a bird book”?
  • Can I secure my wobbly table with an e-book?
  • Can you find rare e-books and sell them for a fortune on Ebay?

E-books are complete crap basically. Apart from the fact you damage your eyes trying to read them; once read they are absolutely useless.

When asked what is my favourite book I often reply “Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie as it gave me a great heat, The Pearl by John Steinbeck due to its aerodynamic properties producing a nice scud on a cat’s head, the bible for its holy smoke, some migraine-inducing work by Derrida for fixing my table, oh and I’ve read too many good ones to pick a favourite”!

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My Freind

I keep a little matchbox
Behind the left bookend
Tucked away upon the shelf
And inside lives my friend

I bring him out at tea time
He loves to eat dead meat
His little eyes they gleam with joy
As he settles down to eat

He gives a little tiny burp
It’s really rather cute
I wish my friend could talk with me
Though sadly he is mute

He loves to hear punk music
The Pistols are his best
He pogos round the table
Until he has to rest

Then we play at hide and seek
Which drives me from my mind
For as my friend is very wee
He’s really hard to find

Then with his little tiny mouth
He yawns without a peep
Then pops into his box again
And settles down to sleep

He’s really rather funky
I dyed his head bright green
He is the greatest maggot
That I have ever seen

I know that soon he will change
Grow wings and fly around
It might be hard to cope then
With that buzz buzz buzzing sound

He’ll eat his fill of jobbies
And filthy rancid things
I don’t know if I’ll like him then
And all the dirt he brings

He’ll land upon my dinner plate
And puke his load up there
Spreading germs aplenty
I feel I shall despair

So fare thee well my little one
You’ve been a faithful friend
Though I cannot love you anymore
And your life it now must end

Be at peace I whispered
Your sleep shall never stop
As round my squeezing fingers
His innards all went pop

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The Righteous Criminals

Twas the night before Christmas (well four actually) and all about the house, nothing was stirring except a thieving little bugger ransacking.

I was asleep at the time and was rudely awakened several times by loud bangs thumps and rumbles. I assumed of course that this was the normal neighbour noises and rolled back into slumber. My neighbours are as noisy as hell and it often sounds like they are juggling with sideboards etc at 3am.

Suddenly there was a huge big crash which made me leap up and look about, you know like you just had a nightmare and the monster was about to tear you limb from limb. Just then my bedroom door started to slowly open.

In my sleep addled brain I somehow knew that the door shouldn’t be opening as I live alone so I dived towards it shouting expletives. A wiry-looking guy ran down the hall and into the living room where I quickly followed. He leapt out of the window and without hesitation I leapt after him. I chased him along the street, noticing that the creep had my own backpack on stuffed with my goodies.

Suddenly I felt a sharp pain, I had run into glass and could chase no more. I watched him run off into the distance with my goods then realised I was standing naked in the street in the dark and the rain.

The police said that because I couldn’t recognise him and he wore gloves then there is nothing they can do about it and they seemed to blame me for being unable to afford household insurance. I mentioned that if I had caught him then I would have beaten hell out of him, to which I was told I would have been charged with assault.

Apparently few housebreakers are ever caught here – well unless they rob houses of the rich, in which case the statistics raise significantly.

But it made me think of the question, Should it not be the case that if someone breaks into your house then they automatically lose all rights? The person upon breaking into your house is fully aware that he is doing wrong and doesn’t care one jot about your human rights, so it should follow that by law he loses his on point of entry.

The human rights legislation as applied to criminals is a bloody joke if you ask me. I was bemoaning the loss of my digital camera ( a Konica Minolta Dimage A200) as its one of very few things I actually own and although not worth a lot today it cost me a fair bit; when I met an habitual criminal neighbour who proceeded to boast that he had just received a cheque for £2500.

Apparently during one of his stints in the local prison he had to pee in a bucket in his cell at night and then slop out in the morning. The European court of human rights in its infinite wisdom deemed that this was against his human rights and awarded him this money. Personally I think he should be buying me a new camera or at least being forced to hand the money to those he committed his crimes against. What do you think?

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It was the end of another soul destroying day working for a bearded bore in a bleak and depressing warehouse. The bus was late as usual and the driver added to the general heaviness of the day with his funereal expression and indifference, as if the bus was his tomb and we, the passengers mere mourners at the procession. I climbed the stairs wearily and settled into a seat three behind a mad junkie-looking character (who appeared to have just spent a hard day thieving from unwary workers) the ideal spot for keeping an eye on the back of his unwashed head for any indications of trouble. As the bus trundled its way through the estate, I watched with revulsion as the weak autumn sun struggled to highlight the decrepit features of the ugly and shoddy monuments to man’s folly and greed, as they opened their mouths and spewed streams of grey humanity on to the streets. The beginning of the end of a repetitive ritual.

The mad junkie sat grunting in his seat, then suddenly started to hack at his throat for all he was worth. The thought of the magnitude of jellied phlegm which would soon slap onto the floor and wobble gave me the dry-boak and it was with difficulty that I managed to switch him off and turn back to the mindless soap opera unfolding on the screen. We turned another identical corner with as yet no interesting twists to the plot when without any warning, something zoomed out of the screen and slammed directly into my eye.

I sat dazed for a moment, unsure of what had happened. I became aware of the mad junkie noisily adding to his collection of blood-streaked goo but my mind was disturbed and distracted and he could have coughed himself inside out for all I cared as I frantically searched through the window in an effort to find the cause. To my surprise, I discovered that my moment of dazed confusion must have lasted longer than originally appreciated as by this time the bus had wound its way out of the estate and had entered the maze of housing blocks infested by wild weans and
big fat window-leaning mammies.

I could have cried at that moment, for there I sat with a feeling that something profound and inspirational had occurred and there appeared to be no way of discerning what it was. I looked at the junkie’s neck and down to his Magnum opus on the floor when suddenly revelation slapped my brain. As bold as a wean with a stick, right before my eyes, surrounded by flashing lights, stood the word ‘FLANGE’.

I looked at it for a while, studying it’s form, rolling its sensual texture around my tongue, getting to grips with its construction and flavour, nudging it gently to see what it would do, but there it stood, quite motionless and without any apparent reason to its being except to intrigue my mind. I began to toy with it and tease it to see what it was about, throwing it around, jumbling its parts to solve its puzzle, but to no avail, as it relentlessly sprung back to its original defiant stance.

It began to mock me, as donning a top hat and cane it danced and cavorted and prodded my brain, forcing me to flinch and retreat. I beat it off as best I could gaining valuable time to prepare my offensive, then during a lull in the attack I caught it unawares by slamming a word into its side. Context, I reasoned, was the key to its defeat as again and again I continued my onslaught barraging it from every angle with possible solutions. ‘Archibald Flange and Sons’ I tried ‘Purveyors of Fine Industrial Thumps and Grinding Noises’, ‘New Biological Flange, Gets whites whiter than white’, ‘At that moment we knew, that soon we would flange in the moonlight’, ‘My love is like a red red Flange’, ‘I Flange therefore I am’. Nothing it seems could tame the beast as it scattered my strongest weapons with gleeful kicks and danced the dance of victorious insult.

No longer joyous in victory it came for revenge. It needled with my reason and taunted my confidence as it gradually transformed into a menacing evil, filling me with dread and tearing at my sanity. I pleaded with it, offering a permanent fixture in my head if only it would leave me alone, but it laughed and tortured my mind with all the more vigour, apparently enjoying my suffering.

On the brink of despair and total defeat, the junkie suddenly hacked with an extraordinary force, succeeding in jarring me from my state of unreason. I quickly glanced through the window and saw that my stop was fast approaching. Tentatively I dodged the blob on the floor, thanked the bewildered junkie, hurried down the stairs and leaping from the bus ran as fast as I could for home.

Breathless and with my head thumping, I grappled with the door, ran inside and frantically searched the bookshelf for the final hope of my salvation, ‘Collins Modern English Dictionary’. My hands clawed at the pages, perspiration running down my cheeks, what if it wasn’t there? What if the page was missing? ‘Flammable’, `flan’, ‘flange’. There it was, the cause of all my grief. It cowered and shrunk and finally sank from my head onto the page. ‘Flange n. A radically projecting collar or rim on an object for strengthening it or attaching it to another object’.

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How To deal With Sales Calls

My brain is weary from the constant barrage of:  “congratulations you have been selected”, “we are a marketing company it will just take 5mins”, I am from Microsoft please give me access to your pc so I can steal all your crap” etc etc.

Over the past year such phone calls seem to have increased significantly causing pain and suffering to millions. Now here’s the thing, why let them annoy you, wouldn’t it be great to walk away from such calls feeling happy and smiley?

Here are some of the fun things I do with annoying calls:

  1. Wait until they say “hi how are you today” – a sure sign of a complete stranger following the techniques of some sales guru where the tactic is to become their friend so you will feel guilty about not buying the crap. As soon as they say this you then put on a rather pastoral voice and say “hi, did you know that Jesus died for your sins”?  If they don’t bang down the phone right away, you then say let us pray together – then proceed to launch into a long laborious prayer (usually best if you make it about the souls of those who call you trying to sell crap etc). I guarantee they will not stay long, unless of course you happen to get some bible-basher , in that case you are on your own!
  2. Pick a song, any song, the sillier the better and sing it loudly and with passion until you hear the comforting sound of a phone being banged down angrily. One of my favourites is “Nobody’s Child” by two old tartan clad men with accordians; you can really whine and belt that one out.
  3. Wait until they finish their sales pitch then say “Yes we can offer you those services would you like a quote”? This one pleasantly confuses them and more often than not they dither and say something silly then leave.
  4. Put on a voice like a man/woman who has the brain of a 5 year old and loudly say “My Mammy’s not in and ma belly’s hungry, are you the pizza man”? The reaction to this one is normally quite hilarious.
  5. Pretend to be a foreigner and make up a language – “drinkle spaar mag fleeble droopje”?
  6. If you are male and get a male caller. Sound quite manly and say “can you wait a second I have a ladder in my tights, sorry pal I want to be a woman and wear woman’s clothes but always have problems with these bloody tights. You sound a bit effeminate, can you offer me any tips”?
  7.  If you are male and get a female. “ooo you have a lovely voice I would really love to brush your hair, can we meet”?
  8.  Speak normally and seriously and be responsive to their questions etc, then suddenly let out a maniacal laugh before continuing to speak normally. Usually they ask “why did you laugh”, you reply “I didn’t laugh what are you talking about”? Repeat until the desired affect is achieved.
  9.  Pretend to be very interested and keep them going and going. You will definitely need the gift of the gab for this method but it is well worth it. When they try to close the deal etc and escape you ask more questions. When you can’t think of anymore questions talk about anything, for example; “sorry for asking but do you know anything about telephones”? “Mines keep’s making a funny clicking sound”. When they have had enough and try to pleasantly escape you whine “please don’t go I am lonely and need a friend”.
  10.  Last but by no means least: Start to cry while they are talking, when they ask what is wrong then you reply:  “I’m sorry but my parrot’s head dropped off and I must go wash my cheese before the carpet sings”. You can hang up yourself after this or if you are adventurous then improvise further.

I do hope you found these methods inspiring and join the fight-back movement. Give them hell and have lots of fun doing it.

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